Indian Police Bust Illegal Call Center
Police in India have arrested 54 people in a raid on an illegal call center that targeted foreign nationals with fraud scams.
The Delhi cybercrime unit launched an investigation after receiving intelligence that a large-scale fraud operation was being run from a location in Moti Nagar, New Delhi.
Police were informed that a team of scammers were calling up targets in America and other countries and conning them into transferring money to criminals via Bitcoin wallets and the purchase of gift cards.
A variety of scams were practiced at the call center, including one that involved impersonating various law enforcement agencies and threatening the targets with arrest or legal action. Victims were told that they could avoid jail or being swept up in the court system if they chose to pay an Alternate Dispute Resolution.
Victims who opted to pay the ADR were then asked to disclose all the details of their assets, including bank account details and the amount of money contained in the accounts. The scammers then told victims that the only way to move money safely was through the purchase of Google gift cards or via Bitcoin wallets.
Other government agencies, including the United States Drug Enforcement Agency, Social Security Administration, and the US Marshals Service, were spoofed by the scammers. Victims were told their assets had been frozen as part of a criminal investigation into illegal transactions.
A raid on the call center, led by Assistant Commissioner of Police Aditya Gautam, resulted in the arrest of 45 men and 9 women and the seizure of 89 desktop computers, cell phones, and a server.
Among the suspects detained by Delhi's cybercrime unit were four alleged 'closers' whose job it was to close each fraudulent transaction by ensuring the victim transferred the money.
According to India TV News, the scammers would call up their victims and read from an elaborate script to dupe them into transferring money. The operation is reported to have conned more than 4,500 victims out of between $1.2m and $1.3m.
The news source states that initial investigations suggest that the owner of the call center is located in Dubai.